lone traveller stands on the top of stones overlooking mountains
lone traveller stands on the top of stones overlooking mountains

Image by Oliver Schwendener

After years of exploring the remotest corners of the globe, Geoffrey Kent has perfected the art of being prepared. Here the Abercrombie & Kent Founder reveals his travel essentials – and what to avoid on your next trip

Young Geoffrey Kent standing by the front of a truck

Young adventurer Geoffrey Kent

I’m never without my Louis Vuitton briefcase

Good hand luggage is vital. If you are travelling commercially, carry your need-to-have items with you and not in the hold. I always check my luggage as it comes out so fast these days but I’m never without my Louis Vuitton briefcase. It’s a Président Classeur from 1972 that’s been all over the world with me. I guess you could say it’s become my signature piece. I love that you can fling it in the back of a truck or helicopter luggage hold without it getting dented. No matter what I’ve done to it or where I’ve taken it – it always looks good.

Follow LUX on Instagram: the.official.lux.magazine

In a pinch, I’ve used it as weights for my daily workout when staying in a tent in the middle of nowhere. Fully packed, it weighs about 11kg. I’ve also used it to get out of many a hole – figuratively and literally. In Tanzania when my Land Cruiser got stuck on a dirt track, I put my case down in the mud, placed the jack on top and jacked the vehicle out. It’s indestructible. Little did I know, when I bought it nearly 50 years ago, that it would still be going strong half a century later. Talk about a future heirloom…

Or my Iridium satellite phone

Louis Pasteur said that “chance favours the prepared”, and once – in 1975 – I spent a night in jail in Juba, Sudan. The Southern Sudanese army were holding some of my clients hostage and, against all advice, I had flown in to rescue them. I sat in that stale, dank cell wondering how on earth I’d fix the situation when I didn’t even have a phone… All ended well, but I’ll never forget that night.

Read more: The ultimate mid-week escape at The Royal Crescent hotel, Bath

Nowadays I also carry my iPhone. Google Maps has been a game changer in terms of navigating the world. On my first ever solo journey, I carried a large, folding Shell map. Now all this information is available at the touch of a screen, making even the farthest corners of Earth more accessible.

I pack shoes that work for any occasion

For a good grounding, Merrell’s ‘Vibram Traction’ boots are the perfect blend of casual cool and clever high-performance tech. Extraordinarily light, they are equally at home in the bush and on a mountainside. The rubber sole provides stability and durability. Having grown up running barefoot wild around the Aberdares in Kenya, shoes are a bit of a nuisance, but Merrell’s trainers have been designed for barefoot running so are the perfect holiday shoe for me. I also pack Hugo Boss and Gucci pairs for smart events when away too.

cashmere touch screen gloves

Touch-screen gloves from Geoffrey Kent’s Safari Collection

I like to stay connected – even in the most extreme climates

When journeying to colder climes, my Geoffrey Kent Safari touch-screen gloves are invaluable. My favourite app is Instagram. I do it religiously and hate missing out on a photo opportunity when fumbling to take off gloves. Made from a mix of wool and cashmere, these have conductive pads on the forefinger and thumb to allow you to use your device without removing them.

I try to leave the smallest impact possible

On a less material note, a philanthropic outlook is vital. How can you positively impact lives and livelihoods in the communities where you travel? Examining how we can contribute to animal conservation will ensure longevity of those populations. For example, point blank refuse to partake in elephant riding, painting or any activity in which the animals are forced to ‘perform’ in any way. These activities are not natural, and the training required is detrimental to this species’ wellbeing. Travelling with conscience is the only way we can insure a sustainable future.

Read more: 6 reasons to buy a Richard Mille McLaren watch

Abercrombie and Kent founder Geoffrey Kent and his wife Otavia

Geoffrey Kent and his wife Otavia

I love to travel with a companion

My wife Otavia shares my sense of adventure and desire to explore. She often accompanies me on the Inspiring Expeditions I lead. We’re off to Corsica next, then will be circling the globe by private jet, before ending the year with the Emperor penguins at the South Pole.

Geoffrey Kent has just launched the Geoffrey Kent Safari Collection, a range of timeless, high-performance, luxury travel apparel and luggage for today’s adventurer. Visit www.geoffreykentsafari.com for further information.

Reading time: 4 min
Dramatic mountainous landscape of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, South America
Dramatic mountain landscapes in Chile, one of 2018's luxury travel destinations

The dramatic landscapes of Chile. Image by Ruben Santander

Geoffrey Kent, Abercrombie & Kent’s chairman and founder, spends around 270 days on the road every year. In this month’s exclusive column for LUX, he pins down some of luxury destinations that will be trending in 2018 and gives his insider tips on where to stay and what to do


Armenia is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. Known as the “Land of Churches”, it’s scattered with magnificent monasteries, ruins full of relics and centuries-old cathedrals. The now-defunct Kingdom of Armenia was the first country on the planet to adopt Christianity. It’s said that two of the apostles – Thaddeus and Bartholomew – spread the religion’s ideas northwards from the Holy Land to Armenia after Jesus’ crucifixion.

Landscape in Armenia, one of the hottest travel destinations of 2018

Armenia countryside. Image by LEMUR Design

Follow LUX on Instagram: the.official.lux.magazine

During my recent visit, the many highlights included visiting UNESCO-listed Geghard Monastery and Zvartnots Cathedral, the Hellenistic-style temple of Garni and Khor Virap, from which there are magnificent views of Mount Ararat. Whilst at Khor Virap, I particularly enjoyed partaking in the tradition of releasing doves in the hope they’ll fly to the mountain’s summit.

The “Pink City”, Yerevan is one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities. It’s home to the Yerevan Brandy Company, which has been producing cognac since 1887. During World War II, Stalin apparently shipped cases of Armenian cognac to Winston Churchill, who first tasted the spirit at the Yalta Conference.


Though small, Montenegro may be the next major thing in the Balkans. With some wondering if it’s the ‘next Croatia’, the country’s tourism star is on the rise thanks to the development of a new multimillion-dollar marina on Boka Bay. When it opens in 2018, Portonovi will lure the Adriatic’s yachters to shore with its siren’s call. The marina’s lifestyle resort will include Europe’s first One&Only resort, a yacht club and an Espace Chenot spa. I’ll be cruising around Montenegro on a superyacht this September, docking at Portonovi and attending a private opera on an islet in Kotor Bay, which is on the World Heritage List.

Montenegro's blue skies and mountains surrounding Boka Bay

Montenegro: the new pearl of the Balkans. Image by Faruk Kaymak


In my experience, most travellers touch down in Santiago and head straight out of town – north for the stark beauty of Atacama or to the wild expanse of Patagonia down south. In this sliver of South America, which will celebrate 200 years of independence from the Spanish Empire in 2018, there’s so much in between.

Read next: Artist Rob Munday’s extraordinary holographic portraiture

Long overlooked, Santiago is worth pausing in. The food scene is piping hot, with restaurants like Boragó at the fore. More and more design-centric boutiques are popping up. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s all framed by the stunning surrounding Andes. With BA’s relatively new nonstop flights to Santiago, it’s more accessible than ever.

Dramatic mountainous landscape of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, South America

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Image by Olga Stalska

Once you’ve finished exploring Santiago, I recommend heading to Patagonia to stay at one of my favourite hotels. The Explora Lodge provides some of Earth’s ultimate views. Sitting at the breakfast table on a clear day, the view is one of the most beautiful you’ll ever see – with glaciers, snowcapped mountains and the lake. The trouble is you must get lucky. I’ve been there several times and you might get horizontal snow when it’s windy so that you can’t see more than a foot ahead of you.


Rudyard Kipling, Disney and the UK’s close ties to the subcontinent obviously have had an indelible effect on our psyches. India’s appeal is evergreen and the classic introduction to this colourful and captivating country is the ‘Golden Triangle’ – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Before travellers visit the tangled jungles of Madhya Pradesh, the tranquil backwaters of Kerala or the Bollywood sets of Mumbai, the Golden Triangle is essential India.

Mother and child walking in colourful building in India

Travellers continue to be entranced by the colours and culture of India. Image by James Houston.

Most just dip into Agra for the Taj Mahal, but with the famed mausoleum under restoration-related scaffolding at the moment, there are new cultural attractions emerging. Famed architect David Chipperfield is collaborating with New Delhi-based Studio Archohm on the Mughal Museum. Located near the Taj, this modern marble palace is due to open any day now. I like contemporary architecture so I’m very excited about this.


A camel crosses in front of the pyramids in Egypt

Image by Martin Widenka.

This isn’t the first time Egypt’s been on my ‘where to go next’ list, but it’s back because this ancient country is  buzzing with renewed confidence. It’s been a bucket-list destination for centuries, but there has never been a better time to travel to Egypt. There are new hotel openings to entice, such as the 39-storey St Regis in the heart of old Cairo.

New tombs are being discovered regularly. A trio of rock-tombs were unearthed 125 miles south of Cairo and another was found on the left bank near the Valley of the Kings. And most excitingly, the world’s largest archaeological museum, the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) will open in 2018 in Cairo. Not only that, but its many fabled sites are free of crowds and open to in-the-know travellers. The experience for tourists in Egypt right now is as welcoming and upbeat as I’ve ever seen it, but the ability to see the pyramids without crowds won’t last long.

Find out more about Abercrombie & Kent’s luxury tours: abercrombiekent.co.uk

Reading time: 4 min